My old college roommates will attest to the fact that I adhere to no boundaries when it comes to eating ketchup. I once ate it slathered on a blueberry muffin. (Okay, so that was a dare – but well worth the $10 I earned.)
Seventeen years after the dining hall muffin debacle, ketchup is still one of the most popular condiments in my house. So, being DIY Natural, we wanted to learn to make it ourselves. Although making your own will save money, for us it was more about avoiding certain ingredients and finding that perfect ketchup flavor.
Unfortunately, our favorite brand of ketchup from the store contained high fructose corn syrup, and when we started eating a more healthful diet and completely cut high fructose corn syrup from our diets we had to choose brands that just didn’t deliver the same flavor. Shortly after our quest for a good alternative began, our old favorite brand started making a “natural” version without the high fructose corn syrup. But wouldn’t you know – it contained lots of sugar, which we were convinced was probably derived from GMO sugar beets. (If you’ve been following the whole GMO issue, you know that most of the sugar contained in processed foods these days is coming from genetically engineered sugar beets. Not much better for you than high fructose corn syrup, right?)
What’s the moral of the story? Don’t be fooled by brands that claim “natural” status, boasting things like “Made without high fructose corn syrup.” Because the sad truth is that most companies are looking to cut corners with ingredients, keep prices low, and profits high. So while they may not contain the one ingredient consumers are popularly starting to avoid, they’ll replace it with another equally unhealthy ingredient that many consumers have not yet been trained to sniff out. Ahhh, big business – you win the sneaky-sneaky award once again.
But I digress – back to our search for a decent ketchup. In between a few nasty batches of homemade ketchup we finally took a break from experimentation and purchased an organic bottled brand of ketchup we absolutely loved. Glancing at the ingredients we noticed it was simple. A little tomato, a little vinegar, a little sugar, water, salt, and seasonings. We were going to give it another shot, replacing the sugar with a natural sweetener, and see how it turned out.
Our first batch was so sweet we could have put it on pancakes. (Hey – it probably would have gone great with that blueberry muffin!)
We finally knocked this recipe out of the park by using a little less sweetener. The result was a ketchup that we like better than our old standby. (Should have known that would be the case, right DIY-ers?!?)
Fabulous Homemade Ketchup
(Makes about 1½ cups)
- 6-7 ounces (1 can) organic tomato paste (find organic tomato paste packed in non-BPA cans here)
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar (find organic white vinegar here)
- ¼ cup (or less) pure maple syrup (find pure maple syrup here)
- ¼ cup filtered water (find the best filtration systems here)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (find unrefined sea salt here)
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder (find organic onion powder here)
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder (find organic garlic powder here)
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Begin whisking to blend ingredients until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently and scraping around sides of the saucepan with a spatula. Simmer until desired thickness is achieved (could take about 20-25 minutes or more). Remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a jar, cap tightly, and refrigerate.
A few things to note
- In the fridge this ketchup will last at least a month (ours has lasted much longer)
- You can preserve this recipe using the hot water bath method – just boil for 15-20 minutes.
Are you ready to try it?